The Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, delivered a statement today in a ceremony at the OPCW headquarters that is held each year to commemorate the chemical weapons attack on the city of Sardasht, Iran on this day in 1987:
“We are gathered on a solemn occasion. 28 June has been designated by the Executive Council as a day to remember Sardasht.
“On behalf of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) I wish to convey my sincere sympathies to the authorities and the people of the city of Sardasht who suffered a chemical weapons attack losing precious human lives. I also offer our solidarity to those who continue to bear the painful consequences of that atrocity.
“The international community today stands united in its condemnation of chemical weapons. It has mandated our Organization to work towards the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons forever. Remembering the tragedies of the past makes stronger our resolve to prevent them in the future.
“We are close to achieving the universality of the global ban on an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. It is our shared responsibility to ensure the success of the Convention in the years ahead, including convincing those who still remain outside of the treaty.
“As we pay homage to the memory of the victims of Sardasht and reaffirm our resolve to permanently rid our world from the threat of chemical weapons, we must also rededicate ourselves to strengthening the Chemical Weapons Convention and its effective implementation. This will continue to give concrete expression to the legal and moral commitment we have undertaken to prohibit a heinous means of destruction.”
[NB: In December 2011, the Conference of the States Parties adopted a decision that the OPCW establish an international support network for victims of chemical weapons and a voluntary trust fund for that purpose. For information about the network and the trust fund, visit the special section on the OPCW’s website.]